Archive for the ‘Robotics’ Category

Converge 2017 Event Report

Posted by Editor On September - 23 - 2017

Altair’s award presentation and gallery celebrates the nexus of technology + design

By Gregory van Zuyen

Converge 2017 Event Report

Christine Outram of Veritas Prep speaking at Converge 2017 on five trends to watch

We will start with the name of the guy you want to know most. His name is Chad Zamler. Why? Becaue he’s the guy that will give you a pass to Converge 2018. If you are lucky, he may still get you passes to Converge 2017 in other cities.

Converge? What’s that? you ask. Why, it’s the only thing in the world more brain-blowing, more creativeley inspiring, more idea-intoxicating than TED talks on steroids. It all happened here at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles on Sept. 13. If you were anywhere close to Southern California that day, it was the place to be.

Converge 2017 Event Report

Stuart Fingerhut of The Visionary Group photographs the Airbus Lightrider, a 3D-printed electric motorcycle displayed at Converge 2017

The accomplishments and innovations of the people that spoke at Converge is astounding. Through the Converge award program — presented by Altair‘s entertaining CMO Jeff Brennan — we are introduced to the thinkers and artists that give us license to think more imaginatively and more expansively than we thought possible. These are the brilliant and inspired genii of our generation, worthy of world respect.

Converge 2017 awarded nine people for their contributions to the nexus of design and technology. The awards do not go lightly. The value of thought that the award winners provide our planet are so worthy of contribution, the very small 3D-printed statuette they receive is all that more precious a symbol of meaning. How ever much the cinematic world considers the Oscar, that’s how much more the techno-design world will consider the award of the Converge Chair of Accomplishment.

Converge 2017 Event Report

Tim Prestero’s Firefly incubators for third-world countries has saved babies’ lives already

The Converge 2017 presentation began with Tim Prestero of Design That Matters. It’s hard to condense the feels of his talk into a paragrpah, because he dealt with the construction of infant incubators for third-world countries. He went blow-by-blow through the process he had to go to through to design and create a device that would drastically reduce the greatest cause of infant mortality; lack of warmth combined with the common onset of jaundice.

Prestero explained his search for a solution that solved all the issues coming from doctors, nurses, patients, hospital administrators and repair personnel. His years-long odyssey resulted in the Firefly, a portable basinet that provided life-saving UV rays from both above and below the baby. It’s not an exaggeration to say that this man is personnally responsible for the preservation of thousands of lives.

It gets better from there. Christina Outram of Veritas Prep brought unimaginable insight into the future with her analysis of trends to watch; the tracking of recycled electronics, the death of websites through speech-driven apps, customizing the user experience for keener levels of market share, and more. Again, you wish you were there.

When it comes to industrial design, few hold the authority of Tim Morton. The contribution he and Newell Brands have done for Rubbermaid alone earns him a lifetime achievement award. In his talk he introduced concepts like “plaid,” a mixing of the verticals and horizontals of an industry for conceptualizing better product design.

Architect Doris Sung of DOSU Studio Architecture was next, speaking about her development of smart materials for an application to architecture. A professor at University of Southern California, Sung turned an academic investigaton into bimetal composition into a solution into autonomously heating and cooling buildings through the natural process of turning otherwise flat, combined pieces of metal into a curled, ventilating, basketweaved surface by the action of solar heat.

Columbia University Professor of Engineering and Data Science Hod Lipson came on stage next and blew our minds with self-learning robots that seek the rewards of self-duplicating. Like humans, only with robots. He even tore the arm off one of the robots to see how it would adapt. Stunning.

The playlist gets better. Bill Washabaugh is sculptor leading a troupe of phenomenal people at Hypersonic. The NYC-based organization develops industrial installations of themed robotics, the result is a three-dimensional spectacle of awe and wonder.

Converge 2017 Event Report

Breaking Wave by Hypersonic is an example of Bill Washabaugh’s contribution to using technology in design

Greg Lynn of Greg Lynn FORM led us into a journey into the future that cannot be forgotten once seen, especially as it is already here. His design of valet robots trained to follow owners is expected to provide pedestrians greater functionality in populated areas. His vision is epic in scope and magnitude by the virtual simplicity of robots that follow you and carry your stuff for you. This development is soon to be literally at your heels in a short time to come.

Converge 2017 Event Report

Guests examining products made possible through the use of Altair’s numerous enterprise solutions

Michael Peng was next. In architectural circles, Peng is the master. Peng was the force behind Gensler’s construction of the 2,073 ft. Shanghai Tower. One of the many notable features of the tower is that its exterior skin twists 120 degrees around the building to shield it from typhoons. Peng took less than thirty minutes to explain how he did it.

Jason Lopes was the show finale. Lopes works for Carbon and he regaled the audience with stories of his days with Stan Winston and Legacy Effects studios. As their lead systems engineer, Lopes oversaw many notable products, and one of them was the construction of a 14-foot animatronic beast for San Diego’s Comic-Con. Operated by four men inside, this one-of-a-kind creation came to life in a record 30 days thanks to Lopes’ use of 3D-printing. The beast went on to wow the crowds for Jimmy Kimmel Live! show — and wowed us as well.

The event concluded with dinner and entertainment by Nick Waterhouse. For the fortunate creatives that were able to attend this uplifting affair, it will never be forgotten. For those that yearn for the keen gleanings of design’s Mt. Olympus, this is the place to be next year.

More on Converge, including how to register, is available at http://event.converge2017.com/.

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

Posted by Editor On September - 16 - 2017

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

There was much to see and discover at this year’s WESTEC Conference

WESTEC 2017, the west coast’s largest manufacturing trade show and expo, delivered an impressive selection of companies on display, with much to see and discover.
Geared toward the milling and fabrication crowd, the show was a cavalcade of robotic devices, cutting tools, software engineers, filtering systems, and, of course, 3D printing manufacturers.

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

VP of sales Marc Franz at Raise3D, a new 3D printer manufacturer promising superior resolution and affordable costs

A new appearance this year was 3D printing manufacturer Raise3D. Vice President of sales Marc Franz was there to promote the new company, and he was enthusiastic about the resolution quality of his company’s products, especially when their price tag is approximately $1,000 less than comparable 3D printers.

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

UnionTech representative Fred Kaplan, SOMOS’s Kevin Zarkis, and internationally-recognized industry expert Frank Speck at the UnionTech booth

Another company worth mentioning is UnionTech. The Chinese company has only recently begun marketing their products here in the U.S., but they are making a significant impact in the industry with the quality of their stereolithography prints. Jeremy Owen, midwest sales manager for RP America, mentioned that adding UnionTech to their list of companies they represent has given them a tremendous advantage in providing their customers with flawless SLA printing. And since UnionTech is open-source, material availability is unlimited and maintenance on the machines is a breeze.

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

Airwolf3D sales representative Paul Gallagher was swamped by WESTEC 2017 attendees at the Airwolf3D booth

Airwolf3D was also there, but it was hard to get a chance to speak to the staff through the student crowd that was three-deep at the booth. With the success of their Hydrofill water-soluable support material and the growing popularity of their Axiom 3D printer, it was easy to understand why they were a conference favorite. Other 3D printers there included 3D Systems, Stratasys, MarkForged, HP, Rize, and Ultimaker.

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

Taylor Dawson of Hexagon displays both the ease of use and robust functionality of the Hexagon scanning software

Matterhackers was available for guidance on materials and online rapid prototyping questions, as was Purple Platypus. 3D scanning companies were also present and they included Innovmetric, Zeiss, Creaform, FARO, Capture3D, and Hexagon. As high-end 3D scanning remains an expensive but necessary investment for companies to make, WESTEC proved to be a great venue for comparing scanning products.

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

AccuServe General Manager Charles Huang talks about his company’s recent landmark innovation in rotary cutting tools, an adapter that uses ultrasonic vibration for improved CNC performance

Every show has something new to discover, and WESTEC 2017 was no exception. This year’s surprise development in technological innovation goes to AccuServe.
While this product may not be directly related to the practice of 3D printing, the inspired genius of their newly patented device could not escape our attention.
We spoke at length with AccuServe General Manager Charles Huang regarding the creation of their CNC tool adapter and were amazed at what this device can do for milling and drilling operations.

“What we have created is the next step in the use of ultrasonic frequencies to improve the cutting tool operation,” said Huang as he held the tool. “Before this, there was UM, ultrasonic manufacturing, which uses sound waves to penetrate materials. This is RUM, rotary ultrasonic manufacturing.”

Huang pointed out that, when dealing with dense, hard materials such as tungsten and high-tempered glass or ceramics, machinists would have to increase their revolutions up to ridiculously high speeds to burrow into the material. Through the use of RUM and the application of ultrasonic frequencies directed to the cutting tool, machinists were able to burrow faster, at lower RPMs, with cleaner, tighter results. “Because the ultrasonic frequencies are able to ‘peck’ at the surface being drilled, the molecular structure of the material is weakened and the build-up of material on the cutting tool is shaken away. With the addition of this adapter, precision is increased dramatically, and the instance of material fracture is greatly reduced.” Huang went on to say that the companies using their product were reporting a 30% to 70% reduction in cutting time and a valued cost savings in their material inventory, thanks to the lessened rate of fracture. The price tag for the adapter is under $12,000 — a comparable savings to the $400,000 CNC machines that can do similar work with similar RUM technology.

To find out more about the RUM cutting adaptor, visit AccuServe at AccuSereMTS.com. And be sure to sign up now for next year’s WESTEC conference.

The Daily 3D Detail: WESTEC 2017

Posted by Editor On September - 12 - 2017

Westec 2017

Just one of the fun things to see at WESTEC 2017

WESTEC 2017 opens today at the Los Angeles Convention Center (1201 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles) with a wide assortment of booths and vendors all promoting the latest in industrial design. Billed as the west coast’s largest manufacturing trade show, WESTEC provides everyone from aerospace to robotics a chance to showcase their latest developments and innovations. A host of speakers will also be on hand for the three-day event to provide much-anticipated seminar sessions for attendees.

In addition to the keynote speeches by IBM and TITAN America MFG, there will be panel discussions on additive manufacturing and smart manufacturing. A smart manufacturing hub will be on display for businesses to tour, and a machining academy has been set up to help polish skills.

It’s Not Too Late to Register
Attendees can still register for free access to the WESTEC 2017 expo floor through a promo code available thanks to Polymer Molding on their Facebook page.

The Daily 3D Detail: Here come wearable electronics

Posted by Editor On September - 8 - 2017

Here come wearable electronics

Wearable electronics will soon be available for a variety of industries. Photo by Wyss Institute.

A new 3D printing method developed by researchers at Harvard University has made wearable electronic technology a reality. These “soft electronic devices of nearly every size and shape” can be custom-designed and impregnated in 3D-bioskins.

The recent article in the journal Advanced Materials called “Hybrid 3D Printing of Soft Electronics” available at the Wiley Online Library explains the nuances of this discovery, and how we’ll be able to get one step closer to being cyborgs.

Here come wearable electronics

Everything from fashion to healthcare will be affected. Photo by Wyss Institute.

Through the use of 3D-printed conductive and dielectric elastomeric materials (think plastic skins with internal flexible electronics) and the ability to implant chips and transmitters into the print, the capacity to produce a wearable cellphone or key fob is within grasp.

The wearable electronics are a part of the Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering‘s plan to bring this technology to a variety of industries, including healthcare and aerospace, where the need for unobtrusive biosensory transmitters on high-risk individuals such as fighter pilots and astronauts can provide ground crews with more reliable and effective data.

Here come wearable electronics

The key to the process is robotic placement of micro-chips in flexible, skin-like thermoplastic polyurethane. Photo by Wyss Institute.

The research team, led by Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) Professor Jennifer Lewis and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s J. Daniel Berrigan, developed the system of 3D printing thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and silver electronic inks with placement of miniaturized chips and LEDs through the use of a robotic vacuum nozzle.

For more on this story see 3DPrintingIndustry.com.

The Daily 3D Detail: 3D printing tissues with blood vessels

Posted by Taila Rodrigues On September - 6 - 2017

The cardiovascular system is a complex network of tens of thousands of kilometers of arteries, capillaries, and veins that branch through the body.

Tissue researchers have spent decades exploring ways to create lab-made constructs with physical properties and similar biological functionalities of healthy blood vessels. Researchers have experimented with synthetic structures to replace irreparably damaged or clogged blood vessels, but have yet to present an approach that works as well as the real thing. However, some recent studies suggest that 3D-printed blood vessels that incorporate living cells may be the breakthrough in 3D bioprinting studies and whole synthetic organs.

University of California San Diego researchers have developed a technique to print a network of realistic and functional blood vessels using custom methods. Conducted by nanoengineering professor Shaochen Chen, the team created their own 3D printer, and produced intricate 3D microstructures that mimic the sophisticated designs and functions of biological tissues. Now they are working on building patient-specific tissues using human-induced pluripotent stem cells, which would prevent transplants from being attacked by a patient’s immune system.

This process could also offer faster, cheaper, and more efficient access to produce biocompatible materials than existing methods.

“Almost all tissues and organs need blood vessels to survive and work properly. This is a major bottleneck in performing organ transplants, which are in high demand, but they are scarce. 3D bioprinting organs can help bridge this gap and our lab has taken a big step toward that goal,” Chen said.

It is worth mentioning that research in bioprintagem is not something completely new.

Researchers at a Chinese biotechnology company, Sichuan Revotek, led by scientist James Kang, are also exploring the printing technique using autologous stem cells to produce artificial blood vessels. The technique uses the proprietary bio-ink of Revotek, patented as Biosynsphere. The bio-ink is composed of stem cells derived from adipose tissue, along with nutrients and growth factors.

“Stem cells have turned into appropriate vascular cells within a few days and, after a month, works just like the original blood vessels. This is a big step since the bio-ink has the unique ability to develop collagen, which allows the tissue to develop in different forms. Using a patient’s own cells to produce the components of stem cell ink can lead to low-cost engineering fabrics that are not only compatible with the patient’s body but also become part of it,” said Kang.

This type of technique is opening up doors and valuable research opportunities previously unavailable to science. The big challenge now is to combine the techniques into one machine, so researchers and scientists will be able to use a 3D-bioprinting laboratory containing a more accurate print at a higher resolution with a larger print structure.

In the future, 3D printing technology can be used to develop transplantable tissues tailored to the needs of each patient.

You can see the full article clicking here.

The Daily 3D Detail: JPL searching for 3D printing interns

Posted by Editor On August - 30 - 2017

JPL searching for 3D printing interns

Opportunities now exist to be a part of JPL’s manufacturing team

Jet Propulsion Laboratories, located in Altadena, California, near Pasadena, is on the lookout for students interested in robotics and space exploration.

The posting on the job website Indeed.com is soliciting applications for work in their Mechanical Systems Engineering, Fabrication and Test Division. Duties include working with a team to develop mechanisms and mechanical systems; building prototypes to prove out mechanism design concepts; running tests to help inform design decisions; and analyzing test data to ensure that the team finds the most important results.

Applicants must be currently enrolled in full-time courses in a college or university pursuing a bachelors, masters, or PhD in mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, chemistry, civil engineering, material/science, physics, robotics, structural engineering, operations research, or related technical discipline. Applicants must also have a 3.0 grade average to be considered.

Visit Indeed.com for instructions on applying.

The Daily 3D Detail: 3D-printed robot uses sign language

Posted by Editor On August - 23 - 2017

3D-printed robot hand uses sign language

Photos courtesy of Project Aslan

NewAtlas.com is reporting on the development of Project Aslan (ASL is the acronym for American Sign Language; ASLAN itself is the acronym of “Antwerp’s Sign Language Actuating Node”), a robotic device capable of interpreting spoken language into sign language for the benefit of deaf people.

Created by a team at the University of Antwerp in The Netherlands, in conjunction with 3D Hubs, Project Antwerp at this stage is a robotic hand that is able to sign letters and words spoken to it. Developers are attempting to create a full-body model to use both hands and an expressive face for its translation functions.

3D-printed robot hand uses sign language

This is not the first robot created to address sign language needs in society. Toshiba developed a signing robot in 2014 to help the elderly. Project Aslan is notable as much of the physical components are 3d-printed.

According to the story, the robot hand is made up of 25 plastic parts 3D-printed from an entry-level desktop printer, plus 16 servo motors, three motor controllers, an Arduino Due microcomputer and a few other electronic components. The plastic parts reportedly takes about 139 hours to print, while final assembly of the robot takes another 10.

Guy Fierens, Stijn Huys and Jasper Slaets are the three master’s degree students who began Project Aslan in 2014. Huys commented on the undertaking by saying, “I was talking to friends about the shortage of sign language interpreters in Belgium, especially in Flanders for the Flemish sign language. We wanted to do something about it. I also wanted to work on robotics for my masters, so we combined the two.”

For the full article, please see this page at NewAtlas.com.

The Daily 3D Detail: Safecracking robot showcased at DEF CON

Posted by Editor On August - 1 - 2017

Safecracking Robot Showcased at DEF CON

Thousands of engineers, IT professionals, and self-proclaimed hackers descended on Las Vegas from July 27-30 for the world’s largest series of cybersecurity conferences known as the Black Hat Conference and DEF CON. One of the talks at the conference received world-wide attention for its dazzling display of tech-savvy engineering by utilizing 3D-printed parts and a studied application of tumbler design to show off a homemade robot that was able to crack a safe in half an hour.

Safecracking Robot Showcased at DEF CON

The robot is the design of Nathan Seidle, owner of Boulder, Colorado-based SparkFun, purveyor of DIY electronic goods such as Arduinos and Raspberry PIs. The story first appeared in Wired magazine.

Safecracking Robot Showcased at DEF CON

The robot challenge began with a gift of SentrySafe brand fireproof safe to Seidle from his wife, who purchased it cheaply as the original owner had lost the combination. Over the past few months, Seidle and his team of designers, Rob Reynolds and Joel Bartlett, spent $200 on various parts to build a robot whose capacity to examine micron-level differences in tumbler notches was able to reduce the million potential combinations (100x100x100) into a third of the possible options. This then gave the robot a greatly reduced amount of time needed to brute-force the remaining options and open the safe within a time frame of 90 minutes.

At the DEF CON show, Seidle and his team purchased a brand new safe from SentrySafe and set their robot to work. Cracking the safe within 30 minutes brought gasps and cheers from the conference audience, providing a stunning display of how the designing of 3D-printed parts and clever robotics continue to challenge the complex world of cybersecurity.

For more articles on the story, See 3DPrintingIndustry.com and 3DPrint.com. For a tutorial on how to build your own safecracking robot, visit this page at Sparkfun.

Arduino CEO Musto Canned for Falsifying Credentials

Image shot of an Arduino Mega with pin-out descriptions from Arduino forum user Nantonos

Arduino, the open-source electronics provider of programmable circuit boards, is a favorite among 3D printrs and makerspace hobbyists who are looking for easy ways of incorporating microprocessors into their creations. The Italian company began in 2003 and is now a business staple in a niche market it almost exclusively owns.

CEO Federico Musto

Trouble first began in spring of this year when an investigation into the listed credentials of CEO Federico Musto proved that he did not actually possess a PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), or an MBA from New York University (NYU). The story first appeared in Wired magazine, wherein Musto admitted to the fabricated resume.

“It’s true, it’s my fault, sometimes I try to squeeze and say, yes I got the MBA,” he told Wired. “Only thing I can prove is I went to kindergarten.”

The false records were initially caught by a true MIT graduate, Adafruit founder Limor Fried: Fried commented on the discovery by saying, “When you go to MIT, there is always this murmur that they had to lower the standards for you,” she said. “And after you graduate, you get asked all the time if you were actually smart enough to have earned your credentials. It’s a little bit insane that this guy has gotten this far without ever being questioned.”

As a result of earlier corporate infighting, Arduino’s original founders Massimo Banzi, David Cuartielles, David Mellis and Tom Igoe, founded the company BCMI in competition to Arduino. Recently they were able to acquire 100% of Arduino AG, as well as its trademarks, thus paving the way for the ouster of Musto and the installation of Dr. Fabio Violante as CEO. Banzi has assumed the chairman and CTO position.

As an afternote, Musto’s LinkedIn credentials now merely list a Montessori kindergarten year in Italy.

For more quotes on the takeover of Arduino, please see this article at 3DPrint.com

The Daily 3D Detail: Will 3D printing enable life on Mars?

Posted by Franka Schoening On July - 10 - 2017

While Matt Damon made living on Mars look like fun, assuming you have the right soundtrack and degrees, reality is still very far from the movie The Martian.

NASA's 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge

NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge

NASA is trying to change this by launching its 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge, which encourages inventors to create habitats for Mars explorers out of recyclable materials and simulated Martian soil. The ability to have robots fly to Mars and build habitats on location, as supposed to transporting houses from Earth, will allow for larger sizes and a reduction in transportation cost. Space explorers would arrive to established housing, hence have immediate shelter from the harsh conditions present on the red planet.

Read the whole story here.